In the early 1800’s Egidio Forni and his uncle Francesco Bonaventura RAMPONE, from Quarna Sotto, moved to Milan where they learned the craft of wood turning of musical instruments. (Flutes, Clarinets, Recorders etc...). After a few years they became partners with their employer. Then in 1847, the original owner, either because of advancing age or declining health, ceded his ownership in the company to Forni and Rampone.
In the following years, the company passed into the hands of the Rampone family, first to Teodoro, and then to his son Agostino Rampone, the true artistic and business mind behind the company and its fine reputation.
Agostino was a talented flautist in the SCALA di MILANO ORCHESTRA, a technician and an innovator. Historical accounts from the beginning of the 20th century credit him with perfecting the Boehm system on the flute. Numerous awards from Milan, Vienna, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Harvard, New York etc. are testaments to the fame which the firm enjoyed in Europe and around the world.
It is suspected that during these exhibitions Agostino met Adolph Sax. In vintage catalogs and price lists of “Agostino Rampone” the year 1818 appeared as the year of the formation of the company.
Around the middle of the 19th century, Forni and Rampone moved a portion of the production to their birthplace, Quarna Sotto, where they placed small woodworking equipment in friends’ and relatives’ homes situated close to small streams which were used to drive the machinery. Initially simple lathes, manual saws and treadle drills were used to work natural woods found in the area: pear, cornellian cherry, laburnum and boxwood.
It is likely that the first Italian saxophones, after the invention of the instrument in 1848 by the Belgian Adolphe Sax (1814-1894), were made in Quarna by Agostino Rampone around 1875 with the first prototypes having a body in wood. Some of these prototypes, used for the development of the keywork, are exhibited in the Quarna Museum of Musical Instruments, the only museum in Italy able to correctly document the evolution of wind instruments over the last two centuries.
After 1910, it was the marriage of Egidio Rampone to Giuseppina Cazzani, daughter of Giovanbattista Cazzani, a Milanese watch maker who also made and repaired brass musical instruments, which gave birth to the firm “Rampone & Cazzani”, known by the brand name “Ditte Riunite A.Rampone & G.B.Cazzani”.
Under this name the company reached its heyday. In the first half of the 20th century, the company began a slow decline and, in 1957, close to bankruptcy, was acquired by Fernando Saltamerenda. He maintained much of the production in Quarna Sotto but moved the offices and the warehouse to Gerenzano, Varese.